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Dustin_B

Frostbite Ridge route conditions?

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Anyone been up Frostbite Ridge in the past week or two? Yes, I saw robertjoy and JayB's TR from several weeks ago and both are great and helpful. Just wondering if anyone has been up there in the last couple weeks. Interested in how the route is doing with the recent heat wave?? TIA. thumbs_up.gif

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Hiked up to the camp at Kennedy Ridge on Friday for a picnic. The route looked great from that vantage point, but had a lot less snow than when I climbed it a few years ago. We saw a couple parties heading up that way. Maybe they post here?

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Dustin, take a gander at the kennedy glacier route. As somebody posted here a while ago, it's a wonder not many more people climb that instead of frostbite ridge. It looked very scenic. That isn't to say frostbite ridge lacks the scenery, but it might be a cool change of pace.

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Haven't been up there but I'd guess that the snow patch that was covering the patch o' blue ice just below the summit on the FBR route is probably gone now. Might be worth taking along a third-tool and a couple of screws if you are taking that route.

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Dustin,

Climbed it over the weekend and it is still in great shape.

Used some pickets and ice screws. A third tool would be nice, but wasn't needed.

There wasn't much ice on the route, just some near the summit rim.

The bergshrund on the left side of the final pitch is starting to open up,

moving the route to the right which get's steeper.

So that can make things a little more interesting. Have fun.

 

The Kennedy glacier looked very broken up, not sure if it is still in.

Edited by spacely

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Spacely - thanks for the beta. I was planning on taking a second tool because I have a brand new one I'd like to scratch up.

 

JayB, JoshK, or anyone - To get to the Kennedy Glacier do you take the same climbers path off the PCT as the one to get to the Ptarmigan Glacier/ Kennedy Ridge? I read in Nelson's guide that there is a climber's path .7 miles past Glacier Creek that leads up the Ptarmigan Glacier. Another route description says to leave the PCT just before Glacier Creek and head up the ridge to get to the Kennedy Glacier, is there a climbers path there? I'm assuming it will be fairly obvious when we get there.

 

Thanks.

 

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For kennedy glacier, I would *guess* that you can just take basically the same approach as frostbite ridge. However, instead of ascending up to kennedy ridge you would break off to your right and start heading towards the toe of the kennedy glacier. Their may be an "official" or better way, but that looked pretty doable when I was up there last.

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That's the approach I used in May, before joining the normal Frostbite Ridge path at the saddle between Kennedy Glacier and Vista Glacier. Get on the glacier low. As you go higher, getting down to the glacier becomes a daunting task on miserable scree slope. Leave the trail before it heads around the ridge, and then cut directly to Kennedy Glacier.

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Dustin:

 

Just take the left turn onto the Kennedy Ridge trail and continue up the ridge and you'll run right into the toe of the Kennedy Glacier. Are you going to do the Glacier or the Ridge?

 

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JayB said:

Dustin:

 

Just take the left turn onto the Kennedy Ridge trail and continue up the ridge and you'll run right into the toe of the Kennedy Glacier. Are you going to do the Glacier or the Ridge?

 

When you say "take the left turn onto Kennedy Ridge trail" do you mean the spur trail or PCT (appears to the be only left turns you take). OR, do you mean take a right turn onto the climbers path? I guess I'm wondering what you mean by Kennedy Ridge trail because that is not mentioned in any of the route descriptions I've read.

 

I think we are leaning towards taking the Kennedy Glacier upto the Kennedy-Dusty saddle below the Rabbit Ears. I still have to talk with my other climbing partners about it. It seems a bit shorter. Are there good places to camp on the Kennedy? We know about the place to camp up on the ridge by the Ptarmigan Glacier. It looks like the Vista-Kennedy saddle would be a sweet camp spot. (We are doing a carry over so we want to camp as high as possible, with in reason).

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3 of us went up Frostbite Ridge this past weekend. Since everyone is/was raving about the Kennedy Glacier we took the lower Kennedy Glacier approach to the ridge. We weren't interested in taking the Kennedy Glacier all the way to the summit. I think this approach has to be shorter than the Ptarmigan Glacier/Kennedy Peak approach? Left side snout of Kennedy Glacier very cool! Gray ice with many waterfalls running down it. We climbed up the left edge of Kennedy Glacier through the seracs next to Kennedy Peak. Camped at the Kennedy-Dusty saddle (8,800 feet) Saturday night. 9 hours trailhead to camp. Sunday morning went up slope to Rabbit Ears. We went around the right side of the Rabbit Ears/horn which works fine but I guess if you aim for the left side of the horn you can pass through the ears. The thing that makes this area 3rd class is the loose ass rock, yikes. That mountain is falling apart. Rabbit Ears to north crater rim, no problem. Dropped down right side of crater rim to crater bottom. Left side was icy. There is a melt pond on the right side of the crater were you can fill up on water. Nice long break here waiting for a party to clear the final slope. Final slope (~400 vertical feet) from crater to summit ridge is the steepest part of the route, maybe up to 50 degrees. There are 2 steep sections separated by a flatter area. This was 2 of ours first time swinging a second tool (which we were very glad to have!). I didn't lead it. We put in 1 screw and 2 pickets on the lower section and 3 pickets on the upper section. We went up this slope around 9 AM and it was very firm snow and ice. (~5 hours to summit) Summit was very cool. After a few parties left the summit we had it to ourselves for ½ hour. Left summit at 11:30 AM, down the Sitkum, and at the TH just after 6 PM. My leg punched through a completed hidden crevasse on the Sitkum, completely unexpected, no sign. My first time for that too!! Whow. Masses of people coming up the Sitkum. I don't think I will ever do that route. Saw 2 or 3 other parties on the FB on Sat/Sun. My first time on top of Glacier (second attempt) and my 4th WA volcano this summer!! Must pick off St. Helens this fall to grab them all. Good time!! thumbs_up.gif Have pics, will post a few when I get a chance.

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Howdy,

 

You must have been the party camped at the saddle in the Stephenson tent, right? We were the party that loudly tromped past your tent at 4 in the morning (sorry). Thanks for being patient while we down-climbed into the crater from the shelf on the north crater rim.

 

Nice weather we had, eh?

 

Cheers,

Steve

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I did Frostbite this past weekend for the first time with Sky, and I don't really understand what all this talk is about technical climbing. I made it to the top with one whippet and no crampons, and I haven't even been climbing a year yet (started last Sept). And it was perfectly safe to downclimb too, unlike the Kennedy Glacier which had some sketchy crevasse crossings and water ice. I suppose it's cool that all these route descriptions make it sound so hairy that the masses will be deterred and leave the ridge vacated for those of us who know the proper way up Glacier Peak. I also understand that some people will want to use pickets and ice screws... no one wants someone attached to their rope who is nervous and likely to make a mistake, but could someone tell me why they'd want a third ice tool? Do you have three arms or what?

 

I don't mean to sound like a jerk here. Frostbite ridge just didn't seem that technical to me. Someone needs to say it. If you think my opinion belongs in a blue bag, go ahead and let me know.

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Hey Jeff,

 

Usually the term "third tool" just refers to a very small, lightweight ice tool. It's so-called because waterfall ice climbers will typically bring one along, lashed to their pack, where they can reach it in a hurry, in case they break a pick while on lead. That's why it is called a "third tool". It is lightweight and made to be used in an emergency. Because it is lightweight, it also makes a nice tool for use on moderate alpine routes where you may have to hammer pickets into thick icy crust, and possibly use the tool for a brief section of steeper climbing.

 

When someone says "it might be helpful to have a third tool" it doesn't necessarily mean they are saying you should bring three ice tools. In this context it probably just means, "you might want to bring a super lightweight ice tool".

Edited by Stephen_Ramsey

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I would like to respectfully ask everyone to keep their third tools away from me, thank you very much. Ha ha. HCL.gif

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Jeff,

 

Regarding the other part of your post,

 

and I don't really understand what all this talk is about technical climbing. I made it to the top with one whippet and no crampons, and I haven't even been climbing a year yet (started last Sept). And it was perfectly safe to downclimb too

 

That's cool, I'm glad you found it straightforward and nontechnical. It makes sense that no crampons were needed for your ascent, since you summited after 7 PM. I imagine the slope was good and soft by then, perfect for step-kicking.

 

That same summit slope was very different at 8 or 9 in the morning. We found it to have a half-pitch section of hard ice. Step-kicking was not an option for us. Hence the use of crampons and a couple of ice screws.

 

So, since most parties are shooting for summiting in the morning, this is why most posters are recommending crampons and the usual snow/ice pro. Doesn't seem to me like everyone (or anyone) is saying it is a super-technical route. Just that crampons and a couple of pickets/screws might be useful.

 

-Steve

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The slope up out of the summit crater wasn't really soft, it was still icy. We just used small features, etc.

It's all good, it's best to climb in your comfort zone, whichever way you prefer, and most importantly without injury.

On another note, why does everyone carry over on Frostbite Ridge? It's not very hard to descend. Personally, I like to be able to climb light. (Must be why I always carry skis?)

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Stephen_Ramsey said:

Howdy,

 

You must have been the party camped at the saddle in the Stephenson tent, right? We were the party that loudly tromped past your tent at 4 in the morning (sorry). Thanks for being patient while we down-climbed into the crater from the shelf on the north crater rim.

 

Nice weather we had, eh?

 

Cheers,

Steve

 

Yeah, that was us in the Stevenson's (not mine by the way but a 3 person tent lighter than 3 bivies, can't beat that). I was the guy in the middle of the rope.

 

We were just waking up when y'all came by so you didn't wake us up. No problem on the waiting either, we weren't in a hurry, just enjoying the mountain.

 

Great weather, couldn't ask for more! Did you guys have trouble getting out of Boulder Basin?

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Did you guys have trouble getting out of Boulder Basin?

 

The climbers' path down to Boulder Basin was pretty crappy (and we were tired), so that part sucked. I stumbled a couple of times on the loose gravel and down-sloping ledges.

 

Once we got down to Boulder Basin, we were a bit unsure where to go. So we headed for the small ridge with lots of tents (which was a couple hundred meters to the right of the "trail" we had been descending), crossing a couple of small drainages along the way. We figured the tents would all be near the trail, which thankfully turned out to be the case.

 

Cheers,

Steve

Edited by Stephen_Ramsey

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Crazy_Jeff said:

I did Frostbite this past weekend for the first time with Sky, and I don't really understand what all this talk is about technical climbing. I made it to the top with one whippet and no crampons, and I haven't even been climbing a year yet (started last Sept). And it was perfectly safe to downclimb too, unlike the Kennedy Glacier which had some sketchy crevasse crossings and water ice. I suppose it's cool that all these route descriptions make it sound so hairy that the masses will be deterred and leave the ridge vacated for those of us who know the proper way up Glacier Peak. I also understand that some people will want to use pickets and ice screws... no one wants someone attached to their rope who is nervous and likely to make a mistake, but could someone tell me why they'd want a third ice tool? Do you have three arms or what?

 

I don't mean to sound like a jerk here. Frostbite ridge just didn't seem that technical to me. Someone needs to say it. If you think my opinion belongs in a blue bag, go ahead and let me know.

 

Hey Jeff.

 

When you descend at 7 PM the snow is a bit different than at 9 AM. Glad you only had to carry a whippet and no crampons (sounds light). I doubt you could have gotten by with out crampons in the morning. Why don't you try climbing it at 9 AM and tell me about it eh? And then try down climbing it at 9 AM and then tell me how easy and safe it is. Did you consider that the reason people carry over is not because they don't want to downclimb the route (which we didn't) but we also wanted to see more of the mountain and do something different (I've never done a carry over). That was our main motivation.

 

Glad you are so comfortable on soft snow after less than a year of climbing. I, on the other hand, still get a bit sketched on hard steep snow and I've been climbing for a year and a half!

 

Why would you be roped up on those sections and then not use snow protection? That just doesn't make since to me. Better to unrope, I think, but climb how you like. I didn't see anyone carry a third tool, now that is just plain silly. pitty.gif

 

No, Frostbite didn't seem as technical to me as the guide books made it to be, but it is definitely steeper than most of the stuff I've done. Probably the most technical climbing I've done so far.

 

And no one's opinions on this board belongs in a blue bag, when you post here you take the chance of getting shit on. You are comparing apples to oranges though (or rather, slush to ice).

 

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Okay, I think you confused me there. So by a "third tool" you really mean a second tool, right? Just called that because it's light?

 

And the crater was pretty icy even in the evening. I think the hard plastic randonee boots were what got us up there. I wouldn't have done it in leather boots. I was just determined to make it after avoiding crampons all day.

 

While I'm here, I also want to ask a couple extra questions...

1) Why do climbers always get up so early? I could understand wanting to see a sunrise from the summit, but not every single time I climb.

2) Why carry over? Sitkum is only marginally shorter, and if you downclimb the way you go up, you can leave your overnight gear down low, which sounds a lot more enjoyable to me.

 

All my views were formed hanging out with the ski mountianeering crowd, so I'd just like a little insight into the world of normal climbers.

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Well, we did use the crampons for the descent. And we did Sitkum last weekend, so we didn't need the extra views that badly. I see your point, though.

 

We didn't use pro because we weren't roped up for Frostbite. We roped on Kennedy Glacier, but that was just in case we collapsed a snow bridge or something, so we didn't use pro there either.

 

It's all good if you have fun, and we sure did. Hope you did too.

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Crazy_Jeff said:

I'd just like a little insight into the world of normal climbers.

 

yellaf.gifyellaf.gifyellaf.gif

 

confused.gif

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Okay, I think you confused me there. So by a "third tool" you really mean a second tool, right? Just called that because it's light?

 

Yes, "third tool" is just slang for a lightweight ice tool. So, the previous posters were probably just talking about using an ice axe and a lightweight ice tool.

 

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